Major League Baseball's Department of Investigations is reviewing the documentation of top international prospect Jairo Beras to determine his age before the league will approve his multi-million-dollar agreement with the Texas Rangers, Rafael Perez, director of Dominican operations for Major League Baseball said Wednesday.
Beras is believed to be 16 and was listed with a birth date of Dec. 25, 1995, in the MLB prospect showcase earlier this month in the Dominican Republic. That age makes him ineligible to sign until the international signing period begins on July 2.
The Rangers submitted the contract for Beras, worth $4.5 million, to Major League Baseball on Tuesday, Perez said.
"At this point, they are reviewing the case and will meet with different people related to his family and try to get a better understanding of what the situation is," Perez said. "We are waiting for an official outcome so we can know how we can approach it going forward. We are trying not to pinpoint what the possible outcomes are. Each case is individual and we're trying to understand what we have first. It could be nothing to the player being suspended."
"As far as we're concerned, he is 16," Perez said. "That's what he presented to us officially and that has been his age since he came into the picture."
The Rangers, who would not comment on the report of Beras' signing, contend he is 17, which suggests they believe the teenager is not subject to the new international signing guidelines.
The new rules that govern those signings will be implemented on July 2. Under those rules, the international signing system will operate with a pool and penalties for exceeding that pool. For the 2012-13 signing period, every team will have the same pool of $2.9 million. Starting in 2013-14, the pools will be based on the prior season's winning percentage, with a range of approximately $1.7 million to $4.8 million.
"An investigation can last days or it can last weeks," Perez said. "Given the big name and the amount of money, there is an interest to get down to the bottom of this and try to come up with answers that make sense with what has happened. We hope to be finished tomorrow, but the truth is, we have to give it time. It's a process, and they have to look under every single stone."
Beras, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and weighs 178 pounds, is known for his power at the plate. He is on top or near the top of most international prospects lists because of his size and natural abilities. Beras had four hits and two stolen bases at the MLB prospect showcase last month.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.